10/12/2002 4:06 pm ET
MLBeat: Lineup shuffle
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- While continuing to insist that nothing is wrong with his offense, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made some changes to shake it up on Saturday.
For Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, La Russa inserted Eli Marrero into the lineup in place of Miguel Cairo. Cairo went 0-for-4 in Game 2 on Thursday after starting the playoffs with seven straight hits. Marrero, 1-for-10 in this year's postseason, will play left field, with Albert Pujols moving to third base. Regular third baseman Scott Rolen is still out with a sprained left shoulder.
In addition, Edgar Renteria moves from his usual sixth or seventh spot in the batting order to second, J.D. Drew will bat fifth and Tino Martinez hits sixth. Drew typically hits second. He batted seventh in Game 2.
"Renteria's hitting second to get some early spark," La Russa said. "I was looking through my lineup cards, and the last game we played here I hit J.D. fifth. Hit a three-run bomb. Why not? A lot of times you give J.D. a little extra responsibility, he responds."
In addition, La Russa hopes to benefit from Marrero's defense in left.
"You come to this ballpark, it's a big outfield, that's our best outfield defense," La Russa said. "Cairo and Pujols are about the same at third."
Rolen available, sort of: As for Rolen, La Russa said the All-Star third baseman would be available to pinch-run, but only if absolutely necessary. Rolen played some catch on the field at Pacific Bell Park, and he did some fielding drills in the batting cage. He swung a bat a little bit and hit some balls off a tee.
"I don't think it's smart to run him out there," La Russa said. "He could be hurt in a collision. It's pretty risky. On one side, I hope it doesn't come up. On the other side, if there's a chance to win, we need a win."
The manager said that Rolen's return to the regular lineup is not imminent.
"He's doing more and more but it's still inside," La Russa said. "When you see him outside, that's when he gets close."
Reunited: Andy Benes isn't the only former Padre who has made an improbable return to prominence. Giants catcher Benito Santiago was almost finished before charging back to make an All-Star appearance this year. The two were teammates in San Diego early in Benes' career, and Benes was amazed by Santiago's ability to throw from his knees.
"My very first major League start," Benes said, "Benny was catching and I had never been around him. I had thrown to Sandy Alomar Jr. in Triple-A and he was an up-and-coming superstar. I'd watch him catch and throw and he was unbelievable. Then my first Major League start was against the Braves and I had a guy on first with one out and I struck Lonnie Smith out, and all of a sudden, I had to duck because the ball was coming right at my forehead. He caught the ball, made his turn and threw a BB to second base. The guy stealing was out. So I go into the dugout and he said, 'You know, if you don't want to get hit, you'd better get out of the way.' "
Welcome back: Former Cardinal and Giant Eric Davis visited the Cardinals during pregame workouts. He was warmly greeted by plenty of people with the birds on the bat, particularly members of the training and medical staff. Davis retired after the 2001 season.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at Matthew_H_Leach@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.